Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ceasefire in the Middle East could only be a temporary fix, professor says

If the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas happens today, it still won’t solve the underlying problem – the battle for borders, says Walter Ward, Ph.D., assistant professor of history.

The history of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians goes back beyond the recent battle. It originated decades ago as both lay claim to the same region of the Middle East.

The people of Israel assert their rights to the land as outlined in the Holy Scriptures, but the Palestinians, who lived on the land for centuries, say it’s theirs though they were forced out.

Beyond that decades-old battle, the current fight is about something else. It was sparked when rockets were fired into Israel by an unknown Palestinian military group. In retaliation, Israel fired back and killed the leader of the Hamas militant wing. Hamas is the political group that governs the Gaza Strip.

A war of rockets and missiles between Israel and Hamas was set off. And, since Gaza is the densest area on the planet, their casualties versus those in Israel have been far more, Ward says.

In addition, the Palestinian military strength is no match for Israel, which is equipped with a missile defense dome, helicopters, tanks and more, whereas Palestinians have antiquated weapons that can’t even accurately hit a target.

Egyptian leaders are trying to get the two groups to quell the fight, which makes sense for both sides, Ward says, especially Israel.

“Israel needs to make a different calculation now as a result of the Arab spring,” he says.

Hamas has a sympathizer in Egypt, whose leaders are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. If Egypt comes to the defense of Hamas it could be to Israel’s detriment, he says. The United States has supplied billions of dollars to the Egyptian army.

“It’s not known if the Egyptian army is about anything,” Ward says, “but who would want to find out? I’m sure Israel would not.”

If the ceasefire does happen, there is still the chance another fight can erupt, Ward says. Until the issue of dividing up the land to the satisfaction of both groups is settled, there will always be tensions, he says.

No comments: